It’s never to late to follow your dreams or learn to code.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll notice that I post lots about learning how to code since I’m finally following my dreams and feel like I’m truly working towards becoming a professional software developer.

The last time I wrote on this blog back in October, I was trying to get into a coding bootcamp and I’m happy to tell you that I was successful and am now about 9 weeks in of the 28 weeks. I didn’t get into gSchool, but I did get into one called the Turing School of Software & Design, which was founded by a man name Jeff Casimir who taught the first gSchool class and left to form his own school, improving upon the model. I won’t go into that stuff now though since there is a bit of a rivalry and that’s not the focus of my post here today.

Anyway, I’m two weeks into the second module here at Turing, they’re six weeks each and there’s four of them, and I feel like I’ve learned so much than I dreamed I could since I’m spending anywhere from 40-50 hours a week in class and coding outside of school. I owe a lot of my success to a woman back in Pennsylvania, Dr. Elinor Madigan, who I met while working as a newspaper reporter. She pushed me to try programming and go back to college to take some college classes. Had I not taken that first step, I wouldn’t be where I am today, working towards a new career and living in the beautiful state of Colorado.

I got the idea to write this post though because I’ve not only made lots of new friends through school and learning to code, but I’ve also reconnected with some old friends a bit who were inspired by what I was doing and messaged me asking for advice on how they could get started.

Well, I want to tell you that getting started with learning to code is very easy. There are so many resources available, it’s pretty crazy, and most are free! One of the best ways to get started with very little setup is Codecademy. They have a ton of courses that you can choose from and all the coding is done through the website in your web browser through a special console. Now you may be thinking, there are so many languages to choose from, how do I know which I should be choosing? While the choice is yours, I’d really recommend Ruby or JavaScript. Ruby is what they have us learning at Turing, along with JavaScript eventually (I actually did my warmup in JavaScript this morning and can be viewed here), and it’s a really great language for beginners since it reads very close to English. Ruby is used for a lot of projects for the web, but it’s also a great general purpose language. As for JavaScript, you can’t go wrong there either since it is the language of the web. JavaScript is used to add interactivity to websites. You can learn either of these languages through Codecademy.

If you’ve done those and want even more practice, I’d recommend driving into a programming book, which many offer free HTML versions. I’d recommend checking out Learn Ruby the Hard Way. Here is a JavaScript book that I’m currently reading when I have time, Eloquent JavaScript, which also has a free HTML version. From here on out, the resources are almost endless. There are some really great paid courses such as one through The Pragmatic Studio, a little more expensive at $169, and Treehouse has some awesome tutorials with videos which is $25 a month after the free two-week trial. I’ve done most of the Pragmatic Studio course on Ruby since that was our prerequisite work before starting at Turing.

While it does get hard later on when learning some complicated concepts, one of the hardest parts about learning to code in my mind is getting over that first hump, but if you can do that, you will be on your way to work that is not only rewarding, but is part of a world where everyone is willing to help you advance. You’ll also have a lot of fun while doing it.

Anyone can learn to code. It’s why the topic is so hot right now for children. They need to start learning this skill since it will prepare them for the future to fill tons of unfilled jobs, plus it helps you learn to think critically and logically. Just about all of my classmates don’t have a coding background and have come from careers in marketing, military, design, the music industry and more.

Photo from Rachel Scott, VP Marketing at Quick Left,  after she spoke to us at Turing last week! (I'm there sitting at the table giving double thumbs-up)

Photo from Rachel Scott, VP Marketing at Quick Left, after she spoke to us at Turing last week! (I’m there sitting at the table giving double thumbs-up)

I guess my takeaway is if you want to learn a new skill and possibility transition into a job that’s as challenging as it is rewarding, seriously, my school guarantees to help place us get a job where we’ll have a starting salary of at least $65,000+ or we get our money back, you should give programming a try.

Feel free to reach out as well if you need a helping hand.

Happy coding!

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